Media Release | Minimum wage increase step in the right direction for low paid workers

The SDA, the union for workers in retail and fast food has welcomed national minimum wage decision, announced by the Fair Work Commission as a step in the right direction, and said it demonstrated that the union movement’s arguments on the importance of lifting wages were gaining traction.
The Fair Work Commission announced on Friday 1 June 2018 that the minimum wage would increase by 3.5% as of 1 July 2018.
SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer said that this increase, while falling short of the ACTU’s submission for a 7.2% increase would assist in easing some of the pressure on low paid Australians.
“Working Australians are being squeezed on two sides, first with historically low wage growth and second with cuts to their weekend penalty rates.”
“The minimum wage increase of 3.5% is a step in the right direction to easing that pressure and a testament to the hard work of the union movement in bringing the struggle of working Australians to light.”
“It stands stark contrast to the National Retailers Association’s submission that retail workers receive a 0% increase the Australian Retailers Association position that any pay increase be restrained to just 1.9%.”
Mr Dwyer said the SDA strongly backed the ACTU’s submission that the national minimum wage be increased by $45 a week or 7.2% and agreed with the objective of lifting minimum wage rates toward a new benchmark against average weekly earnings.
“A solid increase in minimum wage rate achieves two important goals. Not only does it help prevent low paid Australians and their families going backwards, it boosts the incomes necessary to support economic growth as cited by the Reserve Bank.”
“Increasing wages is the shot in the arm the Australian economy desperately needs.”
Mr Dwyer said the SDA would continue the battle for retail and fast food workers through delivering strong enterprise agreements that continued to boost wages and protect conditions and by continuing to fight cuts to weekend penalty rates on behalf of workers.
“This decision demonstrates the importance and effectiveness of working people coming together in unions to stand up for a better deal.”
“This is a positive development, but there remains much work to be done in boosting historically low wages, preserving hard won conditions and protecting penalty rates.”